Mrs Doubtfire

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Read Angus Wolfe Murray's film review of Mrs Doubtfire
Mrs Doubtfire

the visual quality of this widescreen DVD is clear and clean, although there are a couple of moments during the cast interviews when Pierce Brosnan and Robin Williams look as if their makeup is melting.

The menu is seriously flawed. There are the Chapter Headings and Language Subtitles and Special Features. Click on the last and you can see the cast interviews (too short; Harvey Fierstein the best, Brosnan the worst; only topic of conversation - how wonderful Robin is), a talk with Warner Bros Cartoons's legendary Chuck Jones (modest, fascinating - encore!) and original animation pencil test (only for aficionados).

Copy picture

Where is the director's commentary and deleted scenes and makeup test and trailer? After fiddling about for hours - well, 15 minutes - and thinking, the DVD production team should be locked up for fraud, I asked a friend, who knows about these things. She was non-plussed for a good six minutes and finally found the key. At the bottom of the page, there is a "more" notice, with two arrows next to it. Ignore the "more". Click on the arrows and you're there! My Friend Who Knows thought this was v confusing. For people like me, who are new to the DVD game, it's plain impossible.

Once into the magic kingdom of "lost" extras, the treats are manifold. Chris Columbus's commentary is like a lesson in filmmaking. He talks you through the movie, discusses the choices that had to be made, why this scene was cut, even though it was funny, why that scene should have been different. Obviously, he cares and the whole commentary is an ear-opener.

Robin Williams's contribution seems immense. Most of the best lines were improvised. Many more had to be left out. In fact, the wastage of great moments appears extravagant. In the final scene, for example, Williams gave such a powerful performance that the cast and crew fell silent in appreciation. Columbus chose another take in the end because this one would have been too strong in the context of the film as a whole. On a lighter note, he tells us that it took an entire day to persuade the pony to eat the birthday cake at the party and half a day to shoot a scene of Mrs Doubtfire taking a seat in the restaurant.

The deleted scenes are funny, particularly when the washing machine goes berserk. There is a sequence in the restaurant, when someone discovers Mrs Doubtfire's bag of clothes in the ladies' loo and hands it in to the man at the door, so that when Daniel rushes back to do a quick change, his stuff has gone. They shot this two or three different ways. All are hilarious. And yet the sequence never appears in the final cut. There is also a series of scenes with the nosey next door neighbour, culminating in the death of her beloved plants. This ended on the cutting room floor as well.

The film is a delight and must be one of the few that gives full scope to Williams's extraordinary talent. The extras are a tremendous bonus. The DVD is cheap at the price, when you get such value for money.

Reviewed on: 26 Jul 2001
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Mrs Doubtfire packshot
An estranged father dresses up as housekeeper in order to see his kids.
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Product Code: F1-SGB08588DVD

Region: 2

Ratio: 235:1 Aspect Ratio

Sound: Dolby Digital

Extras: Chris Columbus audio commentary; cast interviews; deleted scenes; interview with animator Chuck Jones; original animation pencil test; makeup test; final animated sequence; trailer

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